Tubman Funeral Home


Joseph Bruce Kovach

July 27, 1933April 3, 2021

The family of Joseph Bruce Kovach (Joe) sadly announces his passing in Kipling Health Centre at the age of 87 years.

Joe was born on the farm near Kipling, youngest of the five children of John W. and Julia Kovach (Meszaros). The family moved from the farm to Kipling, where Joe received his high school education. Kovach Garage was established in 1945 and housed a number of dealerships and agencies including Canadian Oil White Rose, Oliver Tractor, Allis Chalmers and Shell Canada Ltd. Joe was active in developing the business and worked in partnership with his father and brother and eventually his son, David, until his retirement in 1993. Joe “the gas man” made many friends on his fuel deliveries to farmers throughout the district, and the garage was a gathering place for good conversation (often in Hungarian) and ice cold Coke in a glass bottle. Upon Joe’s retirement, a skate sharpener was moved into the basement of the family home, and the skate-sharpening business led to more visits, conversation, and opportunities to be in touch with local youth and their parents.

Joe met the love of his life, Shirley Sundstrom, in the neighbouring village of Kennedy and they were married in 1955. Together they built a life in Kipling where they raised their five children. Living next door to the rink, Joe spent a great deal of time there, active on Rink Management, coaching minor hockey, and supporting his children’s hockey and figure skating endeavours. He also served on the local school board. Once his children were grown, he could often be found in “his spot”, the northeast corner of the skating arena, watching the Kipling Royals, the team he played for in his youth.

In his retirement, Joe enjoyed gardening, puttering around the yard, and mowing the lawn whether or not mowing was needed. A true Hungarian, he grew the hottest peppers and could often be found standing in the garden snacking on the fruits of his labour. Most of his grandchildren grew up nearby, and Grandpa always had a supply of popsicles, or some other treat, on hand for their visits. Grandpa was a mentor, chauffeur and supportive friend to each of his grandchildren, many of whom fondly recall the nicknames he gave them. Joe was fiercely independent and remained in the family home in Kipling as long as he could, eventually joining Shirley in the Fillmore Health Centre until her passing in September 2019. Joe returned to his home community and resided in Long Term Care in the Kipling Integrated Health Centre until his death.

Joe was predeceased by his parents, John and Julia, brother Emerald, and sister Emily (Hawker). He is lovingly remembered by their children: Nancy (Richard Toppings), Sharon Ackles, Susan (Dan) Hengen, David (Dorothy), and Rick (Heather); sixteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren; sisters Grace (Eric Tamke) and Margaret (Michael) Swan; sister-in-law Margaret Kovach; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In accordance with Dad’s wishes, a private graveside service will be held with interment in the Town of Kipling Cemetery.

Joe’s family wishes to acknowledge, with deep appreciation, the staff of the Kipling Integrated Health Centre for their kind and compassionate care during Dad’s stay.

If friends so desire, contributions in memoriam may be made to the Kipling and District Health Foundation, P.O. Box 989, Kipling S0G 2S0.


  • In accordance with Dad’s wishes, a private graveside service will be held with interment in the Town of Kipling Cemetery.


Joseph Bruce Kovach

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